The spread of COVID-19 has prompted public officials to urge people against coming into close contact with others, creating the need for non-traditional forms of interaction or consumption of medical care. That includes telehealth or telemedicine, which allows patients to see doctors and receive prescriptions remotely.
On Monday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced multiple reforms, allowing for temporary changes in government-provided health care, including 80 additional services delivered through telehealth.
“CMS is allowing telehealth to fulfill many face-to-face visit requirements for clinicians to see their patients in inpatient rehabilitation facilities, hospice and home health,” the agency said.
The technology has been touted by others as industry demand has appeared to increase dramatically during the pandemic.
“Telehealth is an important first line of defense against COVID-19 and immediately once this outbreak began nearly all of health care’s key stakeholders started to direct care to telehealth,” said Dr. Peter Antall, Chief Medical Officer for AmWell, a popular telehealth app.
“This has created an enormous increase in our volume and the demand just keeps climbing,” he said. “Nationally, usage of our platform is up over 400 percent and is even greater in certain geographies where infections are surging. In these areas, we have seen has usage surge by 650 percent or more in mere days.”